HotPads Q3 2018 Rent Report: Rent Growth Slows Heading Into Fall

Pumpkin Spice season is in full swing, so it’s time for the Fall edition of our HotPads Rent Report. Despite the median rent in the U.S. hitting a new high this month, rents are rising at a slower pace now than they were a year ago.

The current median rent in the U.S. is $1,500 per month, up 2.5 percent from last year. With rents at new highs, affordability is still a concern for many renters – especially those who want to save for a down payment or need to keep up with other rising costs like child care expenses.

However, there is hope on the horizon. Though rents have continuously risen for years, rent appreciation has slowed in recent months. In the third quarter of 2017, rents were rising about 3 percent annually – now, rents are rising 2.5 percent annually.

In fact, rent growth has slowed in 19 of the 35 largest metro areas, with the biggest slowdowns in Seattle and Portland. Seattle rents are up 4.3 percent annually now but were rising 7.7 percent annually at this time last year. Rents in Portland are up 2.8 annually now but rose 4.5 percent annually a year ago.

Several factors can lead to slower rent appreciation, including an influx of supply or softer demand. New construction is growing in many markets (including both Seattle and Portland), and some renters are choosing to buy instead of rent as the job market tightens – softening demand for rentals.

To see how rent prices and rent appreciation are changing in the U.S., check out the tables below: